In 1799 and 1780 William Pitt, the Prime Minister, decided to take action against political agitation among industrial workers. Combination Laws was passed making it illegal for workers to join together to press their employers for shorter hours or may pay. As a result trade unions were thus effectively made illegal.
The campaign against the Combination Acts was led by the trade union leader, Francis Place. In the House of Commons, Joseph Hume and Sir Francis Burdett led the fight against this legislation. The Combination Laws remained in force until they were revealled in 1824. This was followed by an outbreak of strikes and as a result the 1825 Combination Act was passed which again imposed limitations on the right to strike.